Somerset Flood Kit
Seila Fernández Arconada, Barney Dobson, Ioanna Stamataki and Ludovica Beltrame.
The Somerset Flood Kit is a package containing items related to the Somerset Levels and Moors and its relationship with flooding. This work connects art and engineering by looking at how questions and solutions can work together to find creative ways of representation and communication. The Somerset Flood Kit is a package containing the products we created from a multidisciplinary approach and process. The items of the package are made from materials and symbols of flooding in the Somerset Moors and Levels. These include a boat made from clay collected in Somerset rivers, a willow cutting from Sedgemoor, a natural sea sponge, an inflatable artefact made of recycled plastic carrier bags, rice, gravel and sand from Ebbor Gorge near Cheddar and a recycled plastic bottle to create a mini water filter. These items are connected to a booklet where stories are presented in different writing styles such as poetry, drawings, newspaper articles, games, academic text, etc. By using different language formats we play with an open narrative full of questions while presenting connections with the past and the future of Somerset. These kits were generated with the intention of giving them away in Somerset to generate a flood conversation. The performance took place in Taunton on Tuesday 17th of March 2015. The group formed by Seila Fernández Arconada, Barney Dobson, Ioanna Stamataki and Ludovica Beltrame met in the city centre. During an afternoon we had a number of conversations that were triggered by the Somerset Flood Kit. We found that studying the physical processes of flooding and the topography of the area does not make you aware of the effects of flooding at the local community level or of their experiences. We were surprised that most of the people we met and talk to had directly encountered flooding (either recently or in the past) or knew someone who had. Our contribution with the Somerset Flood Kit made a little step forward in other creative ways to communicate and engage with a different audience in an exchange of learning from different perspectives about floods.